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Reading: Preliminary report on the fourth national nutrition and health survey July - August, 1995

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Preliminary report on the fourth national nutrition and health survey July - August, 1995

Authors:

P. Ramanujam ,

Ministry of Plan Implementation, Sethsiripaya, Baltaramulla, LK
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P. Nestel

Ministry of Plan Implementation, Sethsiripaya, Baltaramulla, LK
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Abstract

The Fourth Sri Lanka Nutrition and Health Survey (NHS4), a nationally representative survey conducted between July and August 1995, provides information on the nutrition status of Sri Lankan children between the age of 3 and 60 months at the national, provincial, and sector (urban/rural) levels. Overall, 20 percent of children were stunted, 33 percent were underweight, and 13 percent were wasted. The prevalence .of stunting was significantly higher in the Central province than elsewhere. Stunting and underweight were higher in the estates than in rural areas; they were also higher in the rural areas than in urban areas. Chronic undernutrition was associated with a number of social and economic variables reflecting that children from better-off households were less likely to be undernourished. A comparison of the data for all four NHSs indicates that there has not been any change in the nutrition status of children between 1993 and 1995.

 

Thirty three percent of mothers and 36 percent of fathers had chronic energy deficiency and were undernourished. Undernutrition was greatest in the Central province and in the estate areas and, not unexpectedly, more prevalent among the bottom two income quartiles. These results are consistent with those from NHS3.

 

Data on reported nightblindess among children age two to five years suggest that clinical vitamin A deficiency is not-a"public ;health problem in Sri Lanka, with 0.5 percent cases reported. This result is also consistent with that from NHS3.

 

Eighty two.percent of mothers had heard about iodized salt but just under one-half of these do not use iodized salt. Among the mothers that do use iodized salt, 44 percent do so to prevent goitre, a further 46 percent do so for health reasons although they do not specify goitre, and the remainder cite other reasons. Mothers in the North Western and North Central provinces appeared to be more aware of the broader need for iodine, in that they were more likely to cite health reasons, while mothers'in the other provinces were more likely to state that iodized salt prevents goitre. Clearly, a greater effort is needed to ensure that households have access to and use iodized salt.

 

Chronic energy deficiency (as indicated by a BMI<18.5) is highest in the estate sector (59% for mothers and 50% for fathers) and lowest in the urban areas (21% for mothers, 28% for fathers). Prevalence of energy deficiency was high in the Central, Southern and North-Central provinces, and was associated with decreasing income.
How to Cite: Ramanujam, P. & Nestel, P., (1997). Preliminary report on the fourth national nutrition and health survey July - August, 1995. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science. 40(1), pp.13–24. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjms.v40i1.4832
Published on 27 Jun 1997.
Peer Reviewed

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